Plato frequently compared the good life to the efficient functioning of things. A knife is good, he said When it cuts efficiently, that is, when it fulfills its function. We say of a physician that he is a good physician when he fulfills the function of doctoring. Plato then asks, “Has the soul a function
that can be performed by nothing else? The physician’s function is the art of doctoring and the musician. In his own way, engages in an art. Living, said Plato, is likewise an art, and the soul’s unique function is the art of living, Comparing the art of music with the art of living, Plato saw a close parallel, for in both cases the art consists of recognizing and obeying the requirements of limit and measure. When a musician tunes his instrument, he knows that each string should be tightened just so much, no more and no less, for each string has its specific pitch. The musician’s art consists, therefore, in acknowledging the limit beyond which a string should not be tightened and, in playing the instrument, observing the “measure” between intervals. In a similar way, the sculptor must be ruled by a vivid awareness of measure and limit, for as he works with his mallet and chisel, he must regulate the force of each stroke by the form he wants to accomplish. His strokes will be heavy as he begins to clear away the larger sections of marble, but as he works around the head of the statue, he must have a clear vision of the limits beyond which his chisel must not go, and his strokes must be gentle as he fashions the delicate features of the face.
Similarly, the art of living requires a knowledge of limits and of measure. The soul has various functions, but these functions must operate within the limits set by knowledge or intelligence. Because the soul has various parts, each part will have a special function, and since virtue is the fulfillment of function, there will be as many virtues as there are functions. Corresponding to the three parts of the soul are three virtues, which are achieved when those parts are respectively fulfilling their functions. When, therefore, the appetites are kept within limits and in their measure, avoiding excesses so that they do not usurp the position of the other parts of the soul, this moderation in pleasures and desires leads to the virtue of temperance. Also. when the energy of will, which issues from the spirited part of the Soul, is kept within limits, avoiding rash or headlong action and becoming instead a trustworthy power in aggressive and defensive behavior, the Virtue of courage is achieved. Reason, when it remains undisturbed by the onrush of appetites and continues to see the true ideals in spite of the constant changes experienced in daily life, achieves the virtue of wisdom. Between these three virtues there are interconnections, for temperance is the rational control of the appetites, and courage is the rational ordering of the spirit. At the same time, each part of the soul has its own function, and when each is in fact fulfilling its special function, a fourth virtue, Justice, is attained, for justice means giving to each its own due. Justice, then, is the general virtue, which reflects a person’s attainment of well-being and inner harmony, which, in turn, is achieved only when every part of the soul is fulfilling its proper function.
This was the quintessential Plato in his intellectual majesty as captured in a book of Philosophy edited by Samuel Enoch Stumpf.
The choice of His Excellency, Ambassador Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd) as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic did not come as a surprise to many observers of Nigeria’s foreign policy, which recognizes cordial relations with her neighbours as central to its peaceful existence.
Suffice it to mention here that Nigeria’s official relations with Benin Republic are given most priority as with other neighbouring states of Niger, Chad and Cameroun. This is further anchored by the belief that Nigeria’s prosperity and security is intrinsically linked to its peaceful co-existence with her immediate neighbours. Hence Nigeria, like any other country in the world, pursues what is called interrelated goals in her foreign policy.
Particularly, Nigeria-Benin relations are socio-economic and security related because of the economic viability, porous nature and security threat of the countries’ borders. It has been described as the most vital border across West African region through which socio-economic and cultural relations have been established since period before colonial masters. As an essential part of the Abidjan-Lagos transport and migration corridor, it also represents a key transport vein in the ECOWAS region.
Hence, Amb. Buratai; has pledged his commitment of advancing Nigeria’s diplomatic interest through pro-activeness, sincerity and mutual respect for diplomatic ties.
In the past few weeks since assuming office, he has laid emphasis on various focal points which include fashioning new areas of diplomatic engagement, enhancing trade relations and trans-border security between both nations, especially around the Seme Border, standardization of diplomatic procedure, standing up for Nigeria’s integrity and Nigeria’s improved roles in the international organisations.
While presenting his letter of credence to President Patrice Talon of Benin Republic, Amb. Buratai expressed the desire to strengthen trade relations between the two countries while expanding the frontiers in the war against insurgency by galvanizing the much needed regional support at addressing the threat posed by the Boko Haram insurgents.
He stated his confidence in collective effort, adding that together both countries can achieve concrete development diplomacy and security that will serve their collective aspirations for a brighter future for the people of Nigeria and Benin Republic.
He thus assured President Patrice Talon of the support and cooperation of the Nigerian Mission in Benin Republic and by extension the Nigerian government in making a huge success of their respective countries. He further appreciated the people and government of Benin Republic for their unflinching support and cooperation to the Nigeria’s Mission despite extant challenges and assured of Nigeria’s firm commitment to unity and development.
Knowing about the way Nigerians have continuously expressed their enraged feelings about the matters of insecurity in the country, ever since when Boko Haram insurgency has taken the country unaware since 2009 when they began a violent campaign in North-East Nigeria, everyone now believes in every reason to tighten up our security portals.
Having fought a good fight to subdue and weaken internal terrorism and banditry in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari took a great strategic move on this appointment because he was satisfied with Buratai’s performance and great knowledge of international diplomacy.
The appointment of Ty Buratai is a welcome development in terms of the development of diplomacy and national security. His appointment at a time when Nigeria’s border is under several threats is a wise decision made by the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari. This move is vital and strengthens trade relations between the two countries.
Buratai is a man who served the country as a military leader without a blemish on his entire career. This is the right reward for a man who has served his country diligently and to the best of his abilities. This is a man who has given his all to the nation and we there is no doubt that he will do the same in his current position.
However, despite the inspiring record of this man, his appointment has been bathed with opprobrium by several individuals who believe that he is not fit for the job for several reasons best known to them. There have also been several claims that his appointment is all in a bid to protect him from prosecution for crimes wrongfully alleged against him.
Incidentally, these individuals have failed to see the bigger picture but have instead chosen to allow politics and senseless sentiments to blindfold them. These individuals are only after their interest instead of national interest. Nigeria is currently in a delicate situation presently. The country has been plagued by insecurity and corruption amongst others and senseless political propaganda should not be added to the list.
Buratai’s appointment is a promising development as it has a lot of potential advantages, one of which is the fact that the former chief of Army Staff has a vast network of friends and acquaintances globally. This is a great boost in terms of diplomacy and will be very beneficial in his current position.
Buratai has a lot of unique skills in his arsenals such as his vast wealth of experience as a war veteran, a peacekeeper, an administrator and his efficiency in maintaining order and stability in conflict-ridden areas around the country. These skills will be very vital when it comes to his orchestration of diplomatic relationships and strategy.
Simply put, the involvement of the likes of Buratai with years of experience would assist in no small measure in ensuring that the question of galvanizing regional support for Nigeria in the war against insurgency at the diplomatic level is achieved.
At this point, Nigerians must come to terms with the reality that guns and tanks are not the only potent weapon of war. Diplomacy also plays a critical role. Diplomacy translates military triumph into new arrangements. It implies war planning and the conduct of war in accordance with a strategy that unites political, economic, informational, and intelligence measures with military actions and a well-crafted plan for war termination.
Diplomacy is also the art of pursuing internationally possible. It involves the unpleasant task of interacting persuasively with usually disagreeable adversaries and sometimes tedious friends.
In the case of Nigeria, if we build a diplomatic capability with our neighbours to match our military prowess, we will gain a fundamental building block of national strategy towards addressing the Boko Haram insurgency in the country. And this, considered opinion, of many stakeholders, such as the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) represents what the ambassadorial appointments of the likes of Buratai would avail the country.
According the prominent civil rights group; The Human Rights Writers of Nigeria (HURIWA) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai remains an asset to the county because of his deep foresight on national security. “We are sure many do not know. He is also a military historian. It is thus good that he has offered himself once again in service to the country. We dare say that not many would be readily available because he just left one of the most daunting offices in the country in retirement.
“It was expected that he would devout his retirement time with his family, but that is not the case, as he has continued in service to the country. We think its high time the country celebrated such individuals. His records in the Nigerian Army are exceptional. Under his tenure, substantial gains were recorded in the war against insurgency and other forms of criminalities.
“This act is what we would call patriotism, and we believe with time, all those that saw him in a different light would come around to appreciate him for his display of love for the country. The example of Buratai is one in many cases of Nigerians that have been committed to the growth and development of the country, but he stands out hence this article.
“We also need to remind us that such practices are prevalent in developed nations, where individuals with outstanding public records remain helpful to the country even in retirement. And Nigeria should not be left out because the security challenges in the country require that we explore all available avenues towards the restoration of peace and stability”.
This, in the opinion of HURIWA, would significantly provide answers to the national security question in the country when Nigerians realize that times have changed and there is the need for regional and international collaboration in addressing security challenges.
Therefore the time to act is now in our quest towards bringing the Boko Haram insurgency to an end. And needless to say that we are on the right course with Amb. Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai’s trail blazing assumption of office as Ambassador in Benin Republic, his wealth of experience and legendary friendship with Benin Republic President as well as the international community.
EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and was a federal commissioner at the National Human Rights commission of Nigeria.